Half Moon Bay Golf Links

December 21, 2009 10:47:52 AM PST
The Ocean Course at Half Moon Bay Golf Links has always been fun, but to our thinking, it rarely played as challenging or interesting as it could have. The wide-open sections seemed a little too safe and friendly, and the rough was too thick for a seaside golf course. Now, management has announced plans for a "Links Enhancement" to the Arthur Hills design. Management hopes to position the Ocean Course as a premier links golf experience, even if it lies, technically speaking on top of a bluff. Beginning in September, 2009, The Ocean Course will transition its look and playability with a series of agronomic upgrades featuring firmer, faster conditions intended to emphasis shot values.

We're all for that.

"We have the layout and the setting, and the agronomic enhancement to the Ocean Course is the final piece in providing a true links-style playing experience," says General Manager Bill Troyanoski.

As part of the project, the course will mow down rough around bunkers to bring those hazards back into play. The course will allow native fescue to grow between teeing grounds and holes, providing strategic cues and visual interest.

The course will cut green complexes and surrounds to about half an inch, "just above green" mowing height, enhancing the ground game.

Lastly, the course will create Scottish-style double-tees and add 200 yards, bringing the total length to nearly 6,900 yards.

It plans to have these changes completed by early 2010.

"We are bringing the contours of the course back into play, and putting the onus on the golfer to factor-in bounces and roll, not just carry," says Troyanoski. "The quality of the shot has more significance than the distance, shifting the premium from length and power to accuracy and creativity. The ground game will come back into play and be a major factor, and the emphasis on the aerial game will be dramatically decreased."

The Ocean Course opened in 1997 after an 11-year design and build process. It received numerous awards, including a naming to Golf Digest's "Top Ten Best New Upscale" list in 1998.

"We designed the Ocean Course holes with the fact in mind that people like to see the ocean," Hills wrote in his design book, The Works of Art. "The sea at Half Moon Bay is so huge and predominant that players are aware of it no matter what direction they're going."

Hills laid-out and routed the (then) 6,649-yard routing track on a 125-acre site, taking advantage of the natural contours, prevailing winds and Pacific Ocean view corridors. The final three holes play hard along the ocean and amplify the Ocean links experience. They have always been memorable. Now, perhaps, the rest of the course will play up to them.

http://www.halfmoonbaygolf.com/

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